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Microsoft to offer bounty on hackers

Microsoft will announce on Wednesday that it will offer two $250,000 bounties for information that leads to the arrest of the people who released the MSBlast worm and the SoBig virus, CNET News.com has learned.

The two programs attacked computers that run Microsoft's Windows operating system, causing havoc among companies and home users in August and September. The reward, confirmed by sources in both the security industry and in law enforcement, will be announced in a joint press conference with the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and Interpol that's scheduled for 10 a.m. EST Wednesday.

The rewards are the first time a company has offered money for information about the identity of the cybercriminals. "It's a new approach," said Chris Wysopal, a security researcher from digital security company @stake, who hadn't known about the bounties and was skeptical that they would work. "I don't think anyone has done this before." Microsoft declined to comment until Wednesday. The rewards mark the latest move by Microsoft and law enforcement to track down the people responsible for infecting hundreds of thousands of computers in August and September. The U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and Microsoft had earlier announced the arrests of two men who are suspected of modifying and releasing minor variations of the MSBlast worm.

News source: C|Net News.com

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